Why Every Mom Needs an End-of-the-Year Break (Or at Least One Damn Day)

This time last year, I was physically and emotionally exhausted. The holidays, supposed to be a magical and wonderful time of the year, were not so wonderful or magical for me.

I had just found out that I was miscarrying for the second time in a row (my baby’s heart rate was very slow at our second ultrasound and I quite literally had to wait around for my baby to die over the holidays and yes, it was as horrible as it sounds), my husband was under an enormous amount of stress at work, and with everything we had going on, I fell behind on all of our holiday preparations as well.

In short, it was an exhausting holiday season and while that’s simply part of life and no one can guarantee that anyone has a very Merry Christmas or joyous holiday season, those few hard months taught me one very important lesson going into this year’s holidays:

Mama needs to make time for herself to survive.

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And while a visit to the tropics, an entire week to sleep, or a beachside resort vacation would be ideal, we can also be real here — ain’t no one got time for that, unless maybe you’re Rachel Hollis or something. But for all of us non-face washers out there, I want to challenge you to take just one day for yourself this holiday season. Just one, glorious, guilt-free “Mama Recharge” day.

I don’t care if you have to kick and scream and bribe your way into finding childcare for your kids; I don’t care if you’re a CEO of a major company or a stay-at-home mom drowning under the crumbs of your 10,000 children. I don’t care if you think you don’t deserve it or you are on a budget or you’re afraid someone will find out.

Take.One.Damn.Day.

Image via Unsplash Sylwia Bartyzel

Personally, I’ve been planning my One Damn Day for months now; initially, I planned to book myself a night away at a spa hotel, where I could get a massage and a lady parts wax and spend the day holed up writing before meeting my husband for a dinner on the water. I may have overlooked the minor detail that we would need overnight childcare for that to work out, so that little getaway didn’t happen, but nonetheless, I was persistent.

Next, I planned a day for myself closer to home; I would get a discount massage through our insurance, write at a local restaurant, and then treat myself to a mani-pedi before watching an indulgent Christmas movie at home. Sadly, the day I had picked out for that turned out to be a snow day, so I instead spent the afternoon chucking chicken nuggets at my kids and hoping they would leave me alone for 5 minutes, but again, such is #momlife.

The key, I have found, to our One Damn Day, is to never give up and to be willing to be flexible. Sure, my initial two days didn’t work out, but instead of giving up, I am more committed than ever. I know that in order for me to take on a new year rested and recharged, I need to take a little time out for myself.

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My new plan of action is scheduled for Monday — it’s literally the last day my children will be in school before Christmas break. Do I have a million and a half things I could be doing instead? Of course. Is my holiday prep done? Not a chance. Will I still take the day completely off and do something just for me? You betcha.

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I’ve already looked up a delicious-sounding hot yoga class, explored the idea of a lash lift (have you seen this? It’s cheaper and longer-lasting than lash extensions!), and may even book a massage. I have big plans to lounge in front of the big fire at my favorite restaurant with my notebook and indulge in a big bowl of tomato soup with cheesy croutons while I dream and plan for the year ahead.

When you think about, a “Mama Recharge” day at the end of every year, especially in the hustle and bustle of a busy holiday season, is not only a great idea, but it’s a downright necessity. Every business takes time to equip and empower their employees with business training, retreats, workshops, or professional development, and when you’re a mom, you are tasked with the equally-as-important role of being CEO to your family. And that means, that just like any good CEO, you need to take time to recharge and plan out your strategy for the new year. Being strategic about the year ahead and recognizing the accomplishments and struggles you’ve had in the year before is a smart move that you should definitely consider, whether you’re a working or at-home mom.

Also a very smart move? Cheesy croutons.

I’m just saying.

What do you think?

Why Every Mom Needs an End-of-the-Year Break (Or at Least One Damn Day)

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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